What I’m Thankful For – Thoughts from our California Road Trip

For Thanksgiving, we bravely decided to take our two toddlers on a California road trip. We hadn’t seen most of my husband’s family in over two years since we moved to Arizona. We figured it was time to make the trek so our kids could meet their extended family. They had yet to meet their aunts and uncles, cousins, and great grandmother (who is 86!).

Despite a lot of meltdowns, tantrums, and a lot of tears, we made it there and back without any major incidents. I only had to lock myself in the car one time so I didn’t lose my mind. There were a lot of moments I cursed my husband and me for agreeing to go on a road trip in the first place. In the end, we made some new memories, and there are even a few things I’m thankful for.

1. I’m thankful that Palm Springs installed a windmill farm.

We reached Palm Springs at the exact time my kids started having a major – I don’t want to stay in the car anymore – moment. So we stopped, ran around, and took some pictures to get rid of some energy and enjoy some fresh air.

2. I’m thankful that Lexus agreed to lend us the LX570 with built-in TVs in the head rests.

My kids literally watched shows nearly the entire 11 hours on the way home from my mother-in-law’s house. Without those TVs, I literally don’t think we would have made it home.

3. I’m thankful that my nephew loved Curious George.

My sister handed me down a bunch of his DVDs and they entertained my kids for hours.

4. I’m thankful I got to introduce my kids to the beach and ocean.

This was my daughter’s first time on the beach. The last time I brought my son was almost two years ago. They had so much fun digging in the sand and running in and out of the waves. We built sand castles and they enjoyed carrying water from the ocean to their castle.

5. I’m thankful my kids love to dance.

On Thanksgiving evening, we were all tired and feeling a little tense. My hubby turned on Bruno Mars 24 Karat and my kids went crazy. Their dance moves are hilarious and their aunt, uncle, and granny enjoyed watching them dance. It gave all of us a much-needed laugh and lightened the mood.

6. I’m thankful for Randy’s donuts.

There are a couple LA landmarks that just make you feel nostalgic. I’m not even from LA, but my husband brought me here one of the very first times we visited his family. It was so fun to stop by and capture a few shots out of the giant Lexus sunroof.

7. I’m thankful my kids got to meet their 86-year-old Great Grandmother.

Although they may not have quite understood who she was, she told us several times how thrilled she was that we visited and what a beautiful family we are.

8. I’m thankful the weather in LA was perfect!

We got to enjoy the beach and even stuck our toes in the water.

9. I’m thankful that we had a comfortable ride (with heated seats!) for the entire 12-hour journey.

I already mentioned how sweet the TVs and sunroof in the Lexus LX570 were, but the entire vehicle was amazing. It is so plush, with gorgeous black leather seats.  It also has a lot of really neat technology built in. Aside from the TVs, it has so many details on the dashboard. My hubby was pretty impressed with all the tech. When I first drove the car myself, I was extra shocked to see a hologram with my speed limit reflected in the front window. There was also a ton of storage in the back, which was perfect for our California road trip.

10. I am thankful for my little family of four.

Despite the several times I felt like screaming, my kids can be so much fun. I do love to watch them experience new things and discover the world around them. I feel lucky to get to spend quality time with them doing neat things like go on a California road trip with them. I’ve said it before, but I just need to work on living in the moment and enjoy them for who they are becoming – two really amazing kids.

I hope you and your family had a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend! If you’re looking for other ideas for surviving a road trip, here are a few other stories to check out.

How to Survive a Road Trip with Toddlers

7 Things You Need to Bring When Traveling with a Baby

First Time on a Plane with an Infant

Stacey Freeman: I am a Style Maven, Mommy, Educator, and Traveler.